back to article Supersonic fighters could snuff out hurricanes

A Russian professor at an Ohio university has applied to patent a method for snuffing out hurricanes by flying jet fighters around the eye of the storm at supersonic speeds. Professor Arkadii Leonov and his collaborator Atanas Gagov, both of Akron Uni, actually filed their patent application "Hurricane Suppression by …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I'm So Dizzy,

    My head is spinning!!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As good a reason as any

    to bring concorde out of retirement

  3. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Now if only...

    ...someone had built a supersonic airliner that could supercruise for hours on end without needing an afterburner...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    RE: ‘Circling supersonic fighters could snuff out hurricanes’

    "This does seem likely to mean that fuel endurance would be an issue."

    A suitable job for Concord perhaps? Time to take them out of mothballs and sell them to the septics...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Why not write a paper?

    Answer: Because no scientific journal would ever print such a daft idea.

    So writing a patent not only publicises thier storm-busting idea, but also legally protects it as well. Clever boffins.

  6. Adam Foxton
    Boffin

    Fuel problem

    Couldn't they attach extra tanks to the wings where the (presumably unused) missiles would be sat normally?

    Alternatively, couldn't they fire a barrage of explosives into the hurricane, detonating them throughout its volume, disrupting its flow of air and doing the same sort of thing?

    Or construct a supersonic jet / UAV designed to do this? Given the cost of hurricane damage somewhere like the Gulf of Mexico this could actually be financially viable in some locations.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wot no darpa

    are they looking for some funding from darpa? looks like something that clearly goes under jurisdiction of the chief boffinry labs.

  8. David Pearce
    Stop

    But it's not even new...

    The USPTO have searched it already (see the ISR) and identified some very relevant prior art:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20060619094457/http://www.mb-soft.com/public/hurrican.html

  9. Martin Lyne

    Er..

    Phantom IIs are pretty old.. would one stand up to a hurricane? Let alone the Eye/Tempset interface. Wouldn't all the water in the air mess up the engines?

    Forget bird-strikes.

    FISH-STRIKES.

    Or TRAWLER-STRIKES if an unfortunate boat got caught up in it all..

  10. Ian Halstead
    Paris Hilton

    Would a big fast bomber do?

    I'll assume that a large aircraft capable of the necessary fuel loads and speeds would do.

    Rockwell B1?

    F-111?

    Time to de-mothball those Concordes, just so long as they don't make a habit of spectacularly burning fuel. And then crashing. Or perhaps we could ask the Russians to dust off some TSR-2 plan copies for us. We won't have any.

    Paris? Her legs operate on the swing wing model.

  11. K
    IT Angle

    well

    Time to bring Concorde out of retirement?

  12. Steve Mason
    Boffin

    constant acceleration

    given my limited understanding of angular momentum, the fact the jets would need to fly in a circle would mean they need to be undergoing constant acceleration - thus burning even more fuel than standard supersonic "cruise", ie, in a straight line.

    I'm skeptical though as I'm pretty sure this would already have been thought of, it's not rocket science ;)

  13. Mick F
    Unhappy

    Will he pilot it?

    I know I wouldn't!!!

  14. John Hawkins
    Coat

    But what about Spitfires then?

    Boom boom...

  15. Filippo

    while not wishing to be bound to any one theory

    I guess that means that they don't really know whether or how it'd work, or even if it's a totally stupid idea - but on the off chance it works, give us money. Patent trolling at its finest.

  16. Paul Murphy
    Unhappy

    After the Sandys 57's white paper ...

    This sounds like a job for missiles!

    Or a TRS2, if we had any :-(

    off to sulk..

    ttfn

  17. frod

    er

    at what point does it say that they need to circle.

    it sounds to me like the sonic boom is use to dissipate the tornado, not some crazy superman-turning-back-time fiasco

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    patent?

    I'm not sure how you can patent flying in a circle.....

  19. Yorkshirepudding
    Boffin

    another flaw?

    turning such a tight circle at supersonic speeds? what about stress on the airframe and pilot?!

  20. Wonderkid
    Stop

    Tampering with nature?

    Can any El Reg readers out there confirm whether nor not hurricanes are part of the natural cycle of things, and therefore, despite carnage on the ground, are a force for good? If so, then surely we should leave them alone. If American houses were constructed to the same level of the bricks and mortar buildings here in the rugged UK, perhaps they would suffer less damage? Most of the buildings damaged beyond repair in the States when hurricanes hit appear to be wooden, metal paneled or mobile homes. Brick / concrete buildings appear to remain standing - even in the strongest hurricanes. Modern day early warning systems appear to work wonders too. I vote, leave nature alone and apply some human common sense instead.

  21. Fred

    Where would the energy that the tornado would have used go?

    That's it really...

  22. Jim

    energy

    And all the energy in the hurricane, where does that go then ? That wind has gotta blow somewhere. Even if it works, this plan will just disperse the storm, not snuff it out. Destruction to life and property might not be lessened.

    Bring it on, though, if it gets Concordski whirling around.

  23. Kenneth Chan
    Stop

    Patent Trolls?

    Another case of patenting an idea, but nothing to back it up.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Fuel problem

    I do think that there is a fighter which can do this at present even for the few that can go supersonic without jetisonning the extra fuel tanks.

    There is however a number of bombers (old and new) that can perform this task with flying colours: the now retired everywhere but RAAF F111, the old Tu-22, Tu-22M should all be able to do this. They have both the endurance and the turn radius to remain within the storm eye and follow the suggested trajectory.

    So if the idea has some merit, the kit to test it probably be made available. Now that is one form of Russian-Venezuelan and Russian-Cuban military cooperation that will be entertaining to watch (and the Americans pulling their hair for retiring all F111 prematurely).

  25. Richard_C
    Joke

    hmm...

    Typhoons Vs. typhoon - sounds like a blue-on-blue scenario. And engineered by boffins of the Red Menace no less... Cold wars back on chaps! Back to the bunker!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Huh?

    "It's all very odd"

    You ain't just whistlin' Dixie there Bubba !

    So the US patent office may possibly grant a patent, not for a device, not even for a set of software instructions but..... an aircraft navigational route ?

    Also, why did they give a 1950's aircraft as an example?

    I can see a boom snuffing out a candle, but a hurricane?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Post-Perestroikal genius

    How many white Russians does it take to switch off a tornado?

    - About five glasses.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nuke 'em

    Better just to 'nuke the hurrican. That'll learn it.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hmm.

    Surely, even if this does disrupt the hurricane, the underlying weather conditions will remain -- thus I might be tempted to hazard a guess that a new hurricane would form shortly thereafter.

  30. Tom

    I nominate Arkadii Leonov and Atanas Gagov

    to be on the first plane used to test the theory.

    Better still if they are the only ones on the plane.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Possible side effects...

    From the paper mentioned in an earlier comment here,

    "All that energy that is in the warm ocean waters that dynamically needs to be released (by a hurricane) would still be there in the ocean, so eliminating most of the larger hurricanes might result in hordes of "little" cyclones/hurricanes/waterspouts, or it might result in the occasional one that escaped "treatment" becoming a humdinger!"

    Admittedly, report credibility was rather shaken by the term "humdinger" but nothing a supersonic fly-by couldn't straighten out ;o)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Errrm ?

    What about the energy in the storm.

    What will happen to it. i wont just go away.

  33. breakfast
    Paris Hilton

    Question from the ignorant

    I know nothing about planes and flying really but I can't help but wonder if it wouldn't be a tiny bit risky flying into a hurricane in a fighter jet? Is that much weather likely to be a risk for a regular plane or are they stronger than that?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All this discussion is pretty pointless

    Until somebody runs a test it's all just pissing in the wind.

  35. MJL

    enormous hurricane energy

    I would have thought that the kinetic energy in a hurricane, which the jets would have to nullify , is astronomical. It would probably require thousands of jet fighters in a synchronised fomation, unless a couple of planes could somehow create some kind of 'stalling' effect that is self-sustaining. Difficult to imagine how that would work, but then fluid mechanics is not my strong point ...

  36. The Jase
    Black Helicopters

    meh!

    Storm busting...meh!

    What they should do is fly in a direction opposite to the Earth's rotation. That way they will travel back in time.

  37. snafu

    Refuelling plane

    Well, they could post refuelling planes around the area.

    And if the idea is sound, perhaps building some specialized UAV tailored to the task would be a good idea.

  38. Anders Halling
    Black Helicopters

    @Yorkshirepudding

    Such a tight circle? 400-600 km diameter?

    But RE DARPA-money.. couldn't this be used in reverse to _create_ or strengthen a hurricane if you fly the other way? I'm assuming the jets will fly retrograde to the hurricanes rotation to snuff it out.

    Supersonic black helicopter...

  39. Dave
    Coat

    WW2?

    The Hurricane and Typhoon were pretty good fighters in their time but I suspect a Phantom could easily run (fly?) rings around them.

    Mine's the leather jacket with the goggles in the pocket.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Simple test

    Actually this idea can be tried out very easily! The USAF has Tyndell air force base in Florida that operates retired F-4 Phantoms (the same aircraft mentioned in the patent) as QF-4 unmanned target drones. I'm no meteorologist but doesn't Florida get a few squalls every now and then? Perhaps the unmanned QF-4s can be used to test the supersonic anti-storm theory, they are only going to get shot down anyway and there are no pilots onboard...

  41. Andus McCoatover
    Happy

    Wellesbourne (Warwickshire, UK) has a Vulcan...

    Forget Concorde. Vulcan's are more suited (and booted!)

    Ever been behind one of them on the ground when it accelerated?

    The noise'd scare the shi*t out of titchy little storms like Katrina. Almost knocked me off my feet. I was practically deaf for ½ a day. 'Course, it's a "Cold War plane" so I dunno if the Ruskies could use it to test their theory.

  42. Hollerith

    Hasn't this been done before

    Superman used the same technique to turn back time, I recall.

    (Superman, The Movie. Still the best version, despite the 'flight poem')

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Perfect angular movement

    Exhaustive tests in the bathroom suggest the whole thing works best when two fighter planes are connected with a long shoelace and hunt each others backsides much like the neighbour's dogs.

    Follow-on patent in the works.

    3. Profit!

  44. IR
    Stop

    Waiting for

    Superman did this years ago!

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    They are Russian academics

    For anyone (like myself) who has collaborated with Russian academics, you'll find the lessor capable ones all think their ideas, no matter how good or bad, are of huge value and need protection because everyone wants to steal their ideas. The top notch Russian academics also have huge egos, but tend to be vastly more open.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shurely shome mishtake

    "Of course, larger or smaller hurricanes/typhoons may necessitate the need for more or less supersonic capable aircraft."

    So something subsonic would do for the small storms?

    They probably meant "more or fewer supersonic capable aircraft."

    Mine's the one with the "P" on the back.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too bad...

    ...it's probably bunk. If there's one job that would make you even more of a macho hardass than being a fighter pilot, it would be flying a fighter plane at mach one, in circles, at low altitude, in a hurricane. Smoke me a kipper; I'll be back for breakfast!

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How would they snuff out...

    ... anticyclones? By flying backwards?

  49. Ian McNee
    Stop

    Two jets vs. Average Hurricane

    Your average hurricane generates vast amounts of energy, the wind energy alone could be as much as half of the electrical generating capacity of the planet (http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/D7.html).

    Even if this system is in some kind of dynamic equilibrium it seems inconcievable that the energy generated by two supersonic jets could destabilise it to the point that it dissipates. A useful analogy might be a 1000 ton boulder sitting at the top of a hill that would need to rocked by a few degrees to make it roll down the hill and then suggesting that one person (sans lever, bulldozer, explosives, etc.) could achieve this. Total bollocks!

    As said above: cod science for a bit of cheap publicity and possibly a night on whatever the local moonshine is in Ohio.

  50. Matt Davies
    Alert

    Typical...

    I warned them not to spark up that doobie whilst watching Superman 2.

  51. MJL

    no comment

    glad you didn't post my last comment - I think I was talking rubbish ...

  52. Nate
    Coat

    Re: Tampering with nature?

    Hurricanes are Mother Nature's way of telling us that we need to take a break from our debauchery and/or provide us with a real-life Big Bad Wolf-style lesson about home construction.

    ...too soon?

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Prior Art

    Poul Anderson had a similar idea in "Orion Shall Rise" way back in 1983 or thereabouts. Although, come to think of it, it's set in the future so it can't be prior art ...

    Mine's the one with the rain hood.

  54. Gary
    Pirate

    Just no...

    "turning such a tight circle at supersonic speeds? what about stress on the airframe and pilot?!"

    To be fair, the radius would be rather large, so I don't think the turning at supersonic speeds itself would be bad for the airframe, any more than a typical supersonic turn would be.

    That being said, there is such a thing as "manuevering speed" for aircraft. The first thing anyone is told who accidentally (or purposely) penetrates a thunderstorm is to slow to (or below) maneuvering speed so that the turbulence won't tear the plane apart. I don't know much about the design of fighter jets, but I would think that even they would be susceptible to being torn apart due to turbulence flying at supersonic speeds in a hurricane.

    ...

    And on an unrelated note, I notice some commenters mention "tornado". A hurricane/cyclone is not the same as a tornado.

  55. Remy Redert

    Side effects

    Wouldn't adding the extra air and causing all those air waves to collide with eachother result in a lot of friction and thus heat? That's where your energy will be going. That and random bursts of wind going out from the center of the hurricane, I suppose, which wouldn't be that big a deal because the whole point is to pull this kind of stunt before the hurricane gets a chance to ruin anyone's life.

    As for withstanding the hurricane itself, most jet engines (esp. modern ones) can suck in copious amounts of water and still run just fine. Salt water would screw the turbines up sooner or later so you may have to replace them more often, but any jet capable of pulling a 9+g turn without falling to pieces should have no problems whatsoever with a bit of inclement weather.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Supersonic Debris

    Anybody with even a layman's knowledge of aerodynamics (which about summarizes mine) knows that, when things are going very, very fast, a couple of conditions apply:

    1) A little turbulence at subsonic speed == brick wall at supersonic speed. In case no one has noticed, hurricane == turbulence.

    2) Things in the air at subsonic speed == bricks at supersonic speed. This can include ice pellets.

    Who wants to pilot these puppies? I don't think that it's so easy to recruit kamikaze pilots these days.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Gary

    "A hurricane/cyclone is not the same as a tornado."

    No-one ever got blown to Oz by a hurricane.

    I don't think we're in Kansas anymore Toto.

  58. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge
    Boffin

    I predict... negligible effect

    The first problem would seem to be one of energy. A jet fighter, even a supersonic one, has tremendously less energy than a hurricane. Second, I'm not sure how much of the plane's shock wave will be converted into countervailing spin. Assuming (as the article says) that it's shaped like a cone, I would imagine that near the aircraft the boom will be most disruptive, but as the distance increases this "coherent" wave will be subject to torsional forces creating eddies normal to the direction of the wave. These should soon lose any coherence as the perfectly flat, near-vertical eddies are ripped apart and subsumed into the prevailing horizontal vortex (ie, the hurricane will eat up the eddies, nothing to see here, etc.). I don't know if the inventor has done the maths, and neither have I, but I suspect that he's neglected the third dimension entirely in his imagining, which is kind of inexcusable.

    Nice article, el Reg. Nothing like a bit of hypothetical fluid dynamics in the afternoon to exercise the grey matter.

  59. Yorkshirepudding
    Coat

    @ Anders Halling

    sorry my bad! i thought they would apply it to tornadoes as well

    mines the one with the doppler radar keys

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    mmm

    wasn't this a bad plot device in a bad disaster movie?

  61. amanfromMars Silver badge

    The Russians are Coming ..... into the Mad West? .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXXGep9RB34

    "another flaw? ... turning such a tight circle at supersonic speeds? what about stress on the airframe and pilot?!" .... By Yorkshirepudding Posted Wednesday 3rd December 2008 13:49 GMT

    A Pilotless Drone Suffers No Pain, which is the Beauty of Remote Control.

    "The top notch Russian academics also have huge egos, but tend to be vastly more open." ..... By Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 3rd December 2008 14:39 GMT

    Which is an Intoxicating Transparent Honesty, AC, much Admired in Top Notch Circles.

    This Time the Visiting of Minds is much more Engaging ..... Entangling of the System Meltdown Polemic. Something those knock out Ukrainian girls know more than just a little about.

  62. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge
    Boffin

    @Steve Mason

    > given my limited understanding of angular momentum, the fact the jets would need to fly in a circle would mean they need to be undergoing constant acceleration

    Yep. I can't remember the formula off the top of my head, but essentially there's not much difference between flying in a straight line and flying in a circle... at least qualitatively. When flying in a straight line we have F=ma. The F is provided by the thruster, but not all of that thrust is converted into actual acceleration of the aircraft because of air resistance. So, yes, you're right that it'll need more thrust (force) but it won't mean the aircraft is accelerating. But I guess you knew that and I'm just making a point on semantics. You're right as well to say that extra thrust is needed to keep flying in a circle, and this constant finagling factor translates into extra fuel use and extra stress on the airframe.

  63. Luther Blissett

    Suggested experimental confirmation

    If you still believe in experiment and observation, that is.

    Apparatus: 1 car, 1 cyclist c/w bicycle, 1 fly (real or artificial - not virtual), 2 stands for car, 1 for bicycle, 1 whip.

    Method: Jack up car's driving wheels onto supports. Place bicycle adjacent a driving wheel with rear wheel on stand. Attach fly to rear bicycle wheel. Start car. Operate bicycle rider (whip may be effective) so that rear wheel rotates in opposing direction. Observe motion of car wheel. If the hypothesis is correct, the car wheel should stop before the petrol runs out.

    Cost: est 2 professors' annual salaries (not including patent fees). Burial expenses for cyclist.

    Rationale: a sight cheaper than cutting off Florida and part of Lousiana, making it float, and towing it at around the Carribean at 30mph.

    Alternatives: there is no alternative until boffins realize the role of electricity in atmospheric dynamics, AND get cause and effect the correct way around.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    What everyone seems to be missing...

    A hurricane is a dynamic unstable system (in fact a positive feedback loop). Disrupt the system enough and the self sustaining hurricane will disperse.

    Hurricanes are effectively large vertical heat engines with warm moist air in the walls rising and cool dry air descending in the eye. This is why hurricanes lose power as they pass over land, they no longer have a source of warm moist air (ie the ocean). So if you can disrupt the stability of the interface between the warm and cool air at the boundary of the eye you could theoretically cause the storm to disperse.

    This is where using a sonic boom comes in, you could theoretically destabilise the interface with a sonic boom. This might lead to the complete collapse of the boundary and thus the dispersal of the storm. The total power of the sonic boom is small compared to the power of the storm, but large amounts of power are not necessary.

    As to where the energy goes well you will likely get more small storms in place of fewer large ones. Hurricanes only form in quite specific circumstances so once disrupted one is unlike to reform in the same place.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big Circles

    Some people have commented on the planes having to fly tight circles. I would have thought the problem was more to do with the fact that they are big circles. The diagram shows the planes flying five circuits of around 1800km each. That's not far short of 6000 miles, not counting the distance flown to get into position and get home again. Which is a hell of a long way for a plane to fly at supersonic speeds, certainly it's outside Concorde's range.

    Then there's the matter of the turbulence. The interface between the calm air and moving air at the edge of the eye is extraordinarilly turbulent. I wouldn't have thought any plane currently use or production is designed to put up with that sort of turbulence at supersonic speeds.

    Getting into position won't be a walk in the park either. Presumably the planes will have to fly into the eye. If they were already in the eye on the ground then it would be a bit late to deal with the hurricane. Can these planes cope with being flown through a hurricane? Or would the master of any carrier consider sailing throught a hurricane to get to the eye?

    On the subject of turbulence, flying in that sort of turbulence would probably increase drag reducing speed and more importantly increasing fuel consumption.

    I'm not saying it wouldn't work, I don't understand the theory. However I do think that it would take planes specifically designed for the job which would cost huge amounts of money to develop. It's very unlikely that anybody would spend the massive sums involved with nothing more than an unproven theory to go on.

    So all things considered the patent seems to be totally pointless.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    superman

    they ought to be careful they might go back in time to before supersonic jets were invented and cease to exist.

  67. Pierre

    How the heck can you patent that?

    What does it mean, if someone in the US (like, the government for example) wants to save thousands of lives by using this technique, they will have to license it? How much will they have to pay?

    Frecking brilliant. Someone in the patent application office needs to be take in the backyard and shot. Make it everyone actually. This country never stops amazing me.

  68. Loki
    Joke

    In other news...

    ... the butterfly union of South America have gone on strike and stopped flapping their wings. This is predicted to reduce hurricane activity by 50%!!!

  69. Stevie Silver badge

    Stupid Idea

    Untried, unproven, unpatentable. Stupid.

    Hurricanes work by the heat exchange going on in the "wall" around the eye, and are powered by hot damp air dumping energy by condensation at altitude. This is why hurricanes die quickly once they come ashore. When the eye is over dry land, no more warm, wet water to keep it going.

    So.

    Junk out this worse-than-daft Circling Supersonic Plane Plan and replace it with...Towed Arrays Of Dehumidifiers (TAOD)!

    Yes there are a few details to be worked out, the development of decent casters that will withstand take-off and landing, the manufacture of thousand-mile long extension cords, high capacity drip trays and so forth, but at least this plan stands a ghost of a chance of actually stopping these majestic windy whilrygigs of destruction.

    Sadly, the TAOD will be of no use whatsoever against the trailer-park devastating Tornado, the Scourge of the Midwest, which I believe some here have confused with the Mighty Hurricane.

  70. Tom Silver badge

    Invasion force eaten by small dog

    That was a bogie on the computer printout - not a decimal point!

    Two supersonic jets have less than a billionth the power of a hurricane - I cant even be bothered to work it out.

    They'd need to fly round the eyewall - thats 10,000m high and sometimes 200 miles across and the shockwave is maybe 10' thick and travelling at the speed of sound - and guess what? It cools down straight away.

    About as effective as a fart in a hurricane but without the hurricane to take the smell away.

    Got an icon of a (looks a bit like) a waving hand?

  71. Tom Silver badge

    Now I get it!

    Totally unrealistic patent:

    However if a hurricane does descend on a US airforce base and their supersonic planes take off to avoid being trashed: Patent engages! Kerching!

  72. Daniel B.
    Thumb Down

    Re: Tampering with nature?

    I think the same. I remember something about hurricanes being a natural occurrence to level off pressure and heat differentials. If we had no hurricanes, some heat waves would never go away ... global warming, anyone?

    And as some readers have noted, most "home damage" seems to be due to stupid planning; building a wooden house on a hurricane/tornado/earthquake prone area is really, really stupid. It seems like the Three Little Pigs story falls on deaf ears in the US!

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Russians have learnt well from their American Bedmates

    Think up any crackpot idea, patent it and reap the rewards. Who cares that it's stupid? Who cares that it's been done before? Who cares, so long as we get money.

    Bah.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Now what I want to know

    Is where are our friends at DARPA? This seems like a project that is custom built for that bunch.

  75. Kevin Campbell
    Boffin

    @wonderkid (re: Tampering w/Nature)

    as someone who resides in hurricane-prone south Louisiana, I can personally vouch for brick construction. However, that in no way protected my house against the SIXTY FOOT OAK TREE which crashed through the roof and wall.

    Bricks and mortar do indeed make for hearty construction, but it's a bit unreasonable to try to build against the possibility of several tons of wind-driven tree.

    Roofs are another matter entirely. After the infamous hurricanes of 2005 (Katrina/Rita), when the aforementioned Oak shattered my garage, I got a new roof with fresh asphalt shingles. During this past season, hurricane Gustav (which actually hit my area HARDER than the 2005 storms) only nicked a few shingles whereas my neighbors with older roofs were now facing the necessity of total replacement. A bit hard to brick a roof, yes?

  76. J
    Black Helicopters

    @Question from the ignorant

    And people complaining about the planes not being up to hurricane winds... Well, the Hurricane Hunters are not going supersonic, but they have been flying into hurricane eyes for decades, and with very old planes too. They even take media people with them sometimes: http://www.hurricanehunters.com/

  77. Marty McFly

    SR-71

    Too bad the US whacked the SR-71. It was actually more fuel efficient at Mach 3 than at subsonic speeds. Would have solved the fuel problem nicely.

  78. This post has been deleted by its author

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Green energy! Free energy!

    Here's an idea: how about setting up some dirigible platform in the eye of the hurricane, then have one or more wind turbines attached to that, slowly move that turbine (and platform) towards the inside eye-wall, and generate lots and lots of free energy?

    Sure there are some problems to be ironed out here and there, but I think it's got potential :-)

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    What about Newton?

    In all the debunking, one thing also remains to be pointed out:

    Accelerating a jet clockwise around the hurricane is accomplished by accelerating the air counter-clockwise. Conservation of momentum and all. And all that energy in creating a sonic boom and heating the fighter would be balanced by the energy of the air accelerated in the opposite direction.

    It would have an unnoticable effect for sure, but that miniscule effect would be to accelerate the hurricane.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    over expensive

    All you need to do as get someone to kill the butterfly down in the amazon forest in the first place. Then there is no need for this.

  82. Christos Georgiou
    Thumb Down

    The reason for the patent

    They know their method has no practical value. They just wanted to apply for the patent before Hollywood's Twister 2 arrives at screens worldwide.

  83. Anton Ivanov

    Why is this carrying the russian flag?

    Just noticed the names. One of them is a Bulgarian (Atanas is a 100% BG name and so is Gagov). And while this had the smell of Russian math, the smell of Bulgarian engineering was also there somewhere.

  84. Steve Taylor
    Go

    Prior art - 1975

    > Poul Anderson had a similar idea in "Orion Shall Rise" way back in 1983 or thereabouts.

    > Although, come to think of it, it's set in the future so it can't be prior art ...

    Better yet, I remember reading a story called "Jill the Giant Killer" which proposed pitch bombing tornadoes to disrupt them, back in 1975. Still a wacky idea, but given that they're using bombs, not the planes themselves, and talking about tornadoes instead of hurricanes, probably not quite as wacky.

    No doubt it was a silly story, but it had a big effect on me when I was 8 years old, so it's always stuck in my memory.

    Here's a cover pic from the magazine I read it in, showing it in action:

    http://www.amazon.com/Analog-Science-Fiction-Giant-Killer-Building/dp/B000KP4EVG

  85. Andus McCoatover
    Coat

    They're only ocurring in the Americas, right?

    Why not try something the Merkans are good at?

    Bomb the fuc*k out of the bloody things...

  86. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Energy, turbulence and all that

    I don't give this "patent" a snowball's chance in Hell of ever amounting to anything.

    First of all, turbulence in storm clouds is something that actual pilots avoid like the plague. Why ? Because it's dangerous at any speed.

    Granted, a hurricane is a rotational system which could be more coherent than a basic storm cumulonimbus, but on the other hand its coherency is its most dangerous attribute.

    Even if one does believe that a supersonic fighter plane can fly reliably in hurricane conditions - which I doubt (not built for that) - the sonic boom that can occur will be a drop in the ocean of energy that is surrounding the plane already.

    I highly suspect that the so-called "scientists" that have applied for this patent haven't the slightest notion of the amount of energy that exists in the most turbulent nature of a hurricane's eye. The simple idea of "disrupting" this raging chaos is laughable.

    For me, the only way to snuff out a hurricane would be the application of a comparable amount of energy in a negative manner.

    The total kinetic energy of a hurricane is apparently rated at 1.5 x 10^12 Watts (source : http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/D7.html). The strongest ever sonic boom on record is rated at 144 pounds per square foot. Regular booms these days are rated at around 20 pounds per sq. foot.

    A hurricane, like Katrina, "strong and very pronounced rotary circulation, closed isobars, a pressure of 17 or more pounds per square foot and winds of 74 miles per hour (64 knots) and higher. The devastating class 5 hurricane exceeds wind speed of 156 miles per hour." (source http://www.webcoast.com/environment/hurricanes.htm).

    So one might think that 20 ppsf beats 17 ppsf, but one must also take into account that a sonic boom happens in an instant and disappears, whereas the 17 ppsf of a hurricane is a constant.

    If you think that a sonic boom can do a hurricane in, then realize that the Hiroshima bomb was rated at 8600 ppsf.

    And that was a measly 15 kilotons. Today, we have megaton bombs.

    I say we take off and nuke it from orbit. It's the only way.

  87. Robert

    Why not the B-1?

    It's supersonic, has a decent range, and can be fitted with internal fuel tanks as well. No idea how it would perform flying about a storm, though. Or in-flight refuelling would work for smaller jets. If it really works it would be cheaper than the damage resulting from a large storm making landfall over somewhere populated.

  88. Matt K
    Thumb Down

    Erm...

    Huricanes/Typhoons balance the energy stored in the sea from the sun. so if this actually works wouldn't the hurricanes get stronger and stronger (due to the lack of releasing the stored energy) until a point that earth looks like Jupiter?

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    moronic ideas pop up continually

    Ummm... but here's a thought, what is the consequence of snuffing out a hurricane?

    A hurricane is an earth regulating system. That energy is serving a purpose.

    We know so little about balances that we'd be better off looking at Hurricanes as magic

    not to be tampered with (get out of the path of one as well)

    Hurricane abatement is very likely a horrendous idea. Trust the Mother, she

    regulates herself as necessary. We are already tinkering with her too much

    (HAARP is one example) and I suspect at some point she may have to shake us off of her like a wet dog shaking off water.

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    There is a simpler system

    Just lob a copy of the new Indiana Jones movie in the eye, the hurricane will get so depressed it will dissipate of its own accord within an hour.

  91. Andy Barber
    Boffin

    TSR2

    Just because the TSR2 was British & >Mach 3, doesn't mean to say mean to say it is the only >Mach 3 aircraft. SR81, YF12A, Mig 25 & 28, spring to mind. Wasn't Blue Steel also Mach 3?

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Why dissipate it?

    Would it not be a better idea to figure out how to create or guide them- to help dissipate the energy- then use this to generate power?

    Come to think of it, could you "build" you own hurricane, since we know how they work?

  93. Seán

    Beans beans the muscial fruit

    Might as well get a load of people to fly kites and everyone pulls the string at the same time. Hurricanes are big and planes are small. If you were to collapse a vortex another one would form due to the megatons of differently heated air moving in different directions. Billy Whizz makes more sense.

  94. Simp
    Stop

    Going down the plug hole

    Even in the quantum chance this gag of a patent works, how is it sustainable in any manner?

    Our economy is falling faster than a lead weight so what, Disney Land/Alton Towers have a new attraction; go supersonic in a big circle? I'll stick to polo's and hula hoops if i'm to "snuff" out anything circular.

    Where's all the fuel gonna come from?! I'm tired of invading countries for oil so we can simply move while sat on our butts, we have legs...to run far far away from these things before they even get close.

    How have humans existed before this wonderful patent idea came out...

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Butterflies

    Never mind fighter jets. Using the chaos theory model, release thousands of butterflies to change the hurricanes course to a harmless out at sea destination.

  96. Taz Taziuk
    Stop

    Ummm...nature?

    Hurricanes are a means of tropical heat dissipation and moisture transfer to higher, colder latitudes...unless I'm way off base here...what happens to the world's weather if we stop this?!

  97. Jonathan Shaw

    Why Patent?

    Because academic papers have to be peer reviewed....

  98. Ian G
    Alert

    why patent such an idea?

    not a question worth discussing until your community has been flattened by a hurricane...

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